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Name:___________________________ Period:____ Date:_____ DynamicEarth: Plate Tectonics Activity Supercontinents!Background:The earth did not always look as it does today. It is believed that ~250 millionyears ago (during the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic eras) all the continents werejoined together to form one “supercontinent” called Pangea. Pangea was aroughly “C” shaped landmass that spread across the equator. The body of waterthat was believed to have been enclosed within the resulting crescent has beennamed the Tethys Sea. Owing to Pangaeas massive size, the inland regionsappear to have been very dry, due to the lack of rain or snowfall. The largesupercontinent would potentially have allowed terrestrial animals to migratefreely all the way from the South Pole to the North Pole!Exercise:Cut out the continents from the map of how we see them today, also separateIndia from continental Asia.Try matching up the coastlines and fitting the continents together to form thesupercontinent Pangea.Once you have arranged the continents compare your reconstruction to the oneprovided.
Solutions:Reconstruction of Pangea:How did your reconstruction compare?Did you have trouble fitting all of the continents together? Why? (Answer:Differences in modern and ancient coastal morphologies. This changes withvariations in sealevel.)
There is other evidence, apart from how the shapes of the continents seem tofit together, to support the theory of a supercontinent. For example, the sameand similar fossil species are found on continents that were once joinedtogether. See the figure below.There is also evidence for the same rock sequences found on both SouthAmerica and Africa, and palaeoclimate evidence. For example, glacier depositsfound at the modern day equator landmasses and coral reef deposits found inAntarctica!